Week 34

The preaching session from this week onwards will endeavor to make plans for home visits and to review the last week’s visits.

Home visits are an integral and very effective method of cultivating people at different levels.

Satsanga:  15 minutes

 

Share an interesting and useful point that you have learnt from Srila Prabhupada’s books during the week, and ask others also to do so in turn. 

For those who are still a little new to the group or are somehow not reading yet, you could ask the question:  Tell us something you learned about yourself this year.

Kirtana: 15 minutes

Continue as in the previous weeks by distributing the sheet containing the pranama mantras and the Hare Krsna mantra as well as the glorifications at the end of the kirtana.

Also the offering of incense by every member to the Alter Deities or Deity pictures can be done.

 

Japa…. 15 minutes

Read out first, the following passage from:

                            Sri Namamrta  - The Nectar of the Holy Name

Page 153

All living entities, moving and nonmoving, were liberated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s   loud chanting of the holy name:

(Lord Caitanya to Haridasa Thakura}: “On this earth there are many living entities,” the Lord said, “some moving and some not moving. What will happen to the trees, plants, insects and other living entities? How will they be delivered from material bondage?”

Haridasa Thakura replied, “My dear Lord, the deliverance of all moving and nonmoving living entities takes place only by Your mercy. You have already granted this mercy and delivered them. You have loudly chanted the Hare Krsna mantra, and everyone, moving or not moving, has benefited by hearing it. My Lord, the moving entities who have heard Your loud sankirtana have already been delivered from bondage to the material world, and after the nonmoving living entities like trees hear it, there is an echo. Actually, however, it is not an echo; it is the Kirtana of the nonmoving living entities. All this, although inconceivable, is possible by Your mercy.

 When loud chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is performed all over the world by those who follow in Your footsteps, all living entities, moving and nonmoving, dance in ecstatic devotional love.

My dear Lord, all the incidents that took place while You were going to Vrndavan through the forest known as Jharikhanda have been related to me by Your servant Balabhadra Bhattarcarya. When Your devotee Vasudeva Datta submitted his plea at Your lotus feet for the deliverance of all living entities, You accepted that request. My dear Lord, You have accepted the form of a devotee just to deliver all the fallen souls of this world. You have preached the loud chanting of  the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and in this way  freed all moving and nonmoving living entities from material bondage……… By descending as and incarnation at Navadvipa, You, just like Krsna, have already delivered all the living entities of the universe.”

                                                            Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila 3.67-76,86

Chant a mala of japa together loudly after chanting the Panca tattva mantra 3 times together. Enquire from the members after the japa, how they feel now after chanting 8 minimum rounds at home everyday. You could ask one or two members to share their realizations. The others you could ask in the subsequent weeks.

Spiritual Edification- 45 minutes

If there are new comers to the group, then you should give them a brief introduction on Krsna consciousness and a summary of what you have been doing so far. It is better to give them the first week’s edification to go through. If there is more than one member, you can facilitate a discussion between them separately. This should not be difficult as the other members are also going to be discussing in smaller groups as you will find out below:

You should divide the group into 2 or 3 groups and make them sit in circles. Make sure that the group is evenly distributed with regard to the number of senior, junior and new members in them.

Distribute the sheets containing the spiritual edification to the members.  You could ask a senior member in each group to be the group spokesman/woman.

The leader of each group has to facilitate the participation of all the members, encouraging each one to answer the question addressed to them. Let the leader take down their points. This procedure is only for the Discovery and understanding sessions.

After this the whole group can sit in a circle. You can ask the leaders to read out the consolidated answers of their respective groups for each of the questions.

After this, you can ask each one of them to answer the application question one by one.

You can then sum up the spiritual edification lesson once again and add more points relevant to the topic. You can also include interesting pastimes of the Lord and his devotees, current topics etc, to substantiate the topic.

SPIRITUAL EDIFICATION 

From   “Bhagavad-gita  As it is

BY HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

Bg. Ch-7 Text-5

apareyam itas tv anyam

prakrtim viddhi me param

jiva-bhutam maha-baho

yayedam dharyate jagat

TRANSLATION

Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.

PURPORT

Here it is clearly mentioned that living entities belong to the superior nature (or energy) of the Supreme Lord. The inferior energy is matter manifested in different elements, namely earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego. Both forms of material nature, namely gross (earth, etc.) and subtle (mind, etc.), are products of the inferior energy. The living entities, who are exploiting these inferior energies for different purposes, are the superior energy of the Supreme Lord, and it is due to this energy that the entire material world functions. The cosmic manifestation has no power to act unless it is moved by the superior energy, the living entity. Energies are always controlled by the energetic, and therefore the living entities are always controlled by the Lord—they have no independent existence. They are never equally powerful, as unintelligent men think. The distinction between the living entities and the Lord is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.87.30) as follows:

aparimita dhruvas tanu-bhrto yadi sarva-gatas
tarhi na sasyateti niyamo dhruva netaratha
ajani ca yan-mayam tad avimucya niyantr bhavet
samam anujanatam yad amatam mata-dustataya

“O Supreme Eternal! If the embodied living entities were eternal and all-pervading like You, then they would not be under Your control. But if the living entities are accepted as minute energies of Your Lordship, then they are at once subject to Your supreme control. Therefore real liberation entails surrender by the living entities to Your control, and that surrender will make them happy. In that constitutional position only can they be controllers. Therefore, men with limited knowledge who advocate the monistic theory that God and the living entities are equal in all respects are actually guided by a faulty and polluted opinion.”

 The Supreme Lord, Krsna, is the only controller, and all living entities are controlled by Him. These living entities are His superior energy because the quality of their existence is one and the same with the Supreme, but they are never equal to the Lord in quantity of

power. While exploiting the gross and subtle inferior energy (matter), the superior energy (the living entity) forgets his real spiritual mind and intelligence. This forgetfulness is due to the influence of matter upon the living entity. But when the living entity becomes free from the influence of the illusory material energy, he attains the stage called mukti, or liberation. The false ego, under the influence of material illusion, thinks, “I am matter, and material acquisitions are mine.” His actual position is realized when he is liberated from all material ideas, including the conception of his becoming one in all respects with God. Therefore one may conclude that the Gita confirms the living entity to be only one of the multi-energies of Krsna; and when this energy is freed from material contamination, it becomes fully Krsna conscious, or liberated.

Discovery:

 1) What two energies are the living entities made up of? Name which aspects of the living entity belong to each of the energies.

Understanding:

1) Why is the living entity always controlled, and not independent?

2) Why do the living entities forget that they are controlled by the Lord?

3) When can we be called liberated or fully Krsna conscious?

Application:

1) Do you experience that you are gradually becoming liberated from the influence of the material energy? Share in what ways this is happening.

Preaching Session: 15 minutes

Read out the following passage:

                                       Preaching is the essence

                   His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada                 

Page 35

Distribution of transcendental knowledge is the highest welfare work:

Prthu maharaja continued: How can such persons, who have rendered unlimited service by explaining the path of self realization to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and whose explanations are given for our enlightenment with complete conviction and Vedic evidence, be repaid except by folded palms containing water for their satisfaction? Such great personalities can be satisfied only by their own activities, which are distributed amongst human society out of their unlimited mercy.

Great personalities of the material world are very eager to render welfare service to human society, but actually no one can render better service than one who distributes the knowledge of spiritual realization in relation with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All living entities are within the clutches of the illusory energy. Forgetting their real identity, they hover in material existence, transmigrating from one body to another in search of a peaceful life.

Since these living entities have very little knowledge of self-realization, they are not getting any relief, although they are very anxious to attain peace of mind and some substantial happiness.

Saintly persons like the Kumaras, Narada, Prahlada, Janaka, Sukhadeva Goswami, Kapiladeva, as well as the followers of such authorities as the Vaishnava acharyas                                                                  

And their servants can render a valuable service to humanity by disseminating knowledge of the relationship between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entity. Such knowledge is the perfect benediction for humanity.

You have to start training them up to take on more responsibilities in the spiritual advancement of the members. Categorize the group into senior devotees, junior devotees and new comers. A senior devotee would be one who is chanting at least 8 rounds and following all the siksha commitments of his level carefully, and is keen to be guided further in his spiritual progress. A junior devotee will be some one who is chanting 4 rounds, regular in his attendance of the weekly program and is vegetarian.

First of all train the senior devotees by taking them with you while making your visits to new contacts, as well as the junior devotees’ homes. After a few visits, they can make the visits to the junior devotees’ homes to give them association, and also take the junior devotees along with them when they go to see the new members as well as the new contacts.

These visits have to be discussed every week in this preaching session, so everyone sees the impact this has on the people , as well learn about how to deal with different people effectively in order to inspire them to become  a devotee.

Prasadam: 20 minutes

Let the entire distribution of the prasadam, including the cleaning up be organized by the members themselves. They can take turns every week in doing the services. You can ensure that no one is burdened and at the same time every body gets a chance to share in the services. Do not force any one to do the services, but ask for volunteers.

If children volunteer to read out the prasadam mantra , they can be given turns to do so. Devotees repeat each line after them.

You can spend time giving your association to the members while everyone honors the prasadam.

Enquire from the members if they are cooking food for the Lord and offering it to Him before honoring the prasadam. Encourage them to cook and offer to the Lord. If someone is doing it regularly, express your appreciation. These are big milestones in their spiritual advancement. Teach them how to do the offering to the Deity pictures if you have not already done .Also tell them the rules to follow while cooking for the Lord and the consciousness in which it must be prepared.

Give them some vegetarian, non onion and garlic recipes to follow.

You can also ask each of them to share a recipe they know. You can ask one of the members who volunteer to compile the various recipes, type them out for distribution to all the members.

Immediately after the devotees have left the program, kindly fill in the following form:

Please enter the details about your members attending this week:

 

No:

Members

Attendance

   Current Siksa status

Remarks